After months of wrangling, the payroll tax cut extension fight came to a quick -- and positive for workers -- end on Friday.
Both the House and Senate signed off on keeping in place through 2012 the 2 percentage point reduction in the amount taken out of workers' paychecks to pay for Social Security.
The turnaround came after House Republicans dropped demands that pay for the payroll tax cut be paid for by $100 billion in spending cuts. It initially looked as if the payroll tax break portion would be dealt with separately, but lawmakers quickly came to an agreement on how to pay for the remaining $50 billion necessary to keep unemployment benefits in place and ensure that doctors didn't receive substantially less reimbursement for treating Medicare patients.
Sure, not everyone is happy with the deal.
Legislators on both sides of the political aisle are upset that the payroll tax cut takes money away from a Social Security system that they believe already is on shaky financial footing.
Republicans also opposed the deal, arguing that the tax cut does little to spur the economy.
And one of the top members of the House Democratic leadership broke ranks and voted against the bill. Steny Hoyer, who as whip for Democrats is charged with mobilizing his party's vote on important legislation, opposed the portion of the bill that cuts retirement funds for some federal workers.
I totally understand Hoyer's position. I used to lived in his suburban Maryland Congressional district, where many of my neighbors were government employees.
Lucky for the Democrats and workers anxiously awaiting this vote, the House didn't really need Hoyer's support.
The measure easily passed the House by a 293-to-132 vote. Soon thereafter, the Senate approved it 60 to 36. The president is expected to shortly sign it into law.
So you now can ignore my earlier warning about not spending the tax cut money until a deal is done. Our long national payroll tax cut nightmare is finally over ... at least through 2012.
Get the latest tax news and filing tips by subscribing to Bankrate's free tax newsletters. Sign up to get a Daily Tax Tip or if you prefer a more consolidated collection, subscribe to the Weekly Tax Tip newsletter. Or get both in your email box.
You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.